Summary: Faith, hope and love are all tied to the resurrection of Christ, which we celebrate at Easter.
The Power of Easter Hope
Last week we covered how Easter impacts your faith and we looked at the inspired writings of Paul to the church at Corinth. Incidentally, Paul is known as "The Apostle of Faith." So it was fitting that we read a Bible passage written by him when talking about Easter faith.
The Bible is the story of two gardens, Eden and Gethsemane. In the first, Adam took a fall. In the second, Jesus took a stand. (Max Lucado)
It is also fitting today as we consider "The Power of Hope" that we look at the writings of the Apostle Peter, since he is known as "The Apostle of Hope."
Faith, hope and love are all tied to the resurrection of Christ, which we celebrate at Easter. The three Apostles whose works we are reading from all personally experienced what they were writing about! They all gave eyewitness testimony of seeing Jesus after He was raised from the dead! They all had first-hand knowledge of the great faith, great hope and great love because of their assurance of Christ’s resurrection!
There’s great power in that kind of testimony – the testimony of people who are certain about spiritual realities. Today we look at the great power in hope from the pen of a man full of hope.
Consider this tremendous Bible passage on hope from the writings of the Apostle Peter.
1 Peter 1:3-9 (NASB)
3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4. to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5. who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
7. so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
8. and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9. obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9 (NASB)
Peter wrote these words about 30 years after Christ’s death and resurrection. He was writing to encourage the persecuted Christians of Asia Minor.
They were being abused by overbearing bosses (1 Peter 2:18), threatened by unbelieving spouses (1 Peter 3:1, 6), and ridiculed by skeptical neighbors and associates (1 Peter 4:14). On the horizon loomed the possibility of a much more violent form of persecution (1 Peter 4:12-18). It was a very anti-Christian society.
How do you stay hopeful when your life is undergoing these kinds of tests? What do you do when life seems to have more questions than answers?
You’ve got to have hope to keep on going. You’re going to have to have "a hope that never dies" the Bible speaks of in verse 3.
I want to answer three questions today about this powerful hope:
1) What is it?
2) How can you get it?
3) How does this hope empower you?
I. WHAT IS THE "HOPE THAT NEVER DIES?"
The New Testament idea of hope is different from the way we use the word hope today, like we say "I hope it doesn’t rain." We’re referring to the uncertainty of future events. You might be surprised to know that that is not the same thing as the Bible meaning of hope.
When the Bible speaks of hope it is talking about the very opposite of uncertainty. It is communicating with assurance, with confidence that these future events spoken of are surely going to take place. There is no “hoping,” because it is a surety.
We need to understand this difference, If you re-read scripture with this difference in mind it changes our understanding of the text, doesn’t it? Hope with assurance.
1 Peter 1:4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
1 Peter 1:5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Those two verses contain certainty after certainty. The Bible concept of hope involves certainty.
But there’s another thing about "a hope that never dies." It might be easier to think about by considering the opposite of a living hope, that is, a dead hope.